I haven’t played it before.
How would you counter this axis strategy ?
OK, I’ll start by saying this strategy is played very commonly by one of the top players of the AA42 ladder of GTO (4 times winner). Games are played with UK6 bid that is places in Persia and Trans-Jordania (league rules)
For Germany, he builds a aircraft carrier and a destroyer that he puts in the baltic. The idea is to force UK to build 3 fighters (to counter the fleet and not to lose London on G2). Then assuming UK builds 3 fighters, he’ll remove the Figs and leave the 3 boats in 3 different SZ. The other idea behind that is to send units in Africa while UK is busy killing your boats. This way UK killing the battleship in Med is not happening before UK3 which lets Germany send 8 units in Africa, enough to take many IPC in Africa easily.
On the following turns he’ll build 1 Bom a turn to prevent landings for quite a while with the UK1 turn spent on planes.
Obviously Russia will come pretty deep in Germany stacking even Ukraine or Karelia if they want but they will have to go back because with Japan he build 2 IC on turn 1 followed by all tanks (and Bombers in Tokyo with the extra IPC).
Obviously, I’m summarizing. Going Pacific with US (I’m meaning with no IC in Asia here) as no chance to work (I tried once and got absolutely destroyed). Japan can just ignore US boats and Moscow will fall before they even get near Asia.
First of all, you didn’t explain all of the first round purchases for Germany, just the CV and DD. I think if I was playing in this league:
Russia: I would hammer West Russia leaving 1 INF on Karelia to prevent the blitz, 8 INF 1 ARM 1 FTR (might leave 1 more INF) on Caucasus, and the rest of the front on West Russia. I’d consolidate the 6 INF on the Eastern Front in Buryatia. I’d pull the 4 from Novosibirsk and Evenki back to Russia. The 2 on Kazakh would be part of the stack on Caucasus. The Russian FTR would land on Egypt. For the most part, Russia would thereafter engage in the typical land war with Germany. If the German player bought that much naval force on G1, that is going to make life a bit easier on Russia for the early game.
UK: Due to the UK+6, I would build the IC on India. As for the rest of my build, I would probably go for a second BOM, a CV in SZ 2, or a few land units to begin shoring up UK, just in case things go awry. It would depend on how things went on G1 and the final placement of their air units. The 2 FTR and 1 BOM on UK attack the Baltic fleet. With 2 FTR 1 BOM against 2 DD 1 CV, UK has a 76% to win and keep at least the BOM, which I would land in Caucasus (or West Russia if the FTR’s survived). If the SZ 2 fleet is still afloat, I would drop it down to SZ 12 to attack Algeria and to block in the German BB and TT in the Med. Now, UK is under no immediate threat of a German landing on UK. The Egypt ARM would move east to Persia. The Indian TT would grab the 2 INF from Trans-Jordan and bring them back to India. The 2 Persian INF would walk into India leaving a total of 7 INF there. I’d pull the rest of the Indian fleet down to SZ 38 to merge with the Australian fleet. Normally, I would go to SZ 30 for the merger, but in this case, I would go to SZ 38 to bait the Japanese into attacking the UK fleet. In order to have the odds to succeed, they would need to commit a 3rd or 4th FTR (FIC and/or SZ 50). Japan would no longer pose a serious threat of taking India on J1 and may greatly reduce their threat at Pearl Harbor. If they ignore the fleet and instead attack India to capture the IC, they are going to suffer significant losses, even if they bring in every possible unit (4 INF 4 FTR 1 BOM). They would not get the bombardment with the BB, as the ships are engaging in combat against the transport. They are likely to lose 3 INF 2 FTR (29 IPC’s worth of units) compared to UK’s 21 (forgetting the AA), leaving Japan with only 1 (maybe 2) infantry for the capture. FIC and Kwangtung would likely both be bare, except for possibly any air units landing after the India battle. Likely the Japanese player would want to defend their fleet, so their 2 FTR’s would land on their Indian Carrier. Their BOM may well be stranded alone in FIC or perhaps with 1 extra FTR if Japan got lucky in the India fight. Those air units are tempting targets for a US assault from China as they do not have cannon fodder to chump block for them on defense. Granted, Japan does have the TT in SZ 60 that they COULD ferry 2 units to Kwangtung or FIC, but the transport would then be a sitting duck for the American FTR on China. Assuming Japan succeeded in capturing India, Russia can liberate it with their 2 FTR and the ARM from Caucasus. If the rolls are horrendous for the Russians attempting to liberate India on R2, UK should have little difficulty wiping out the Japanese fleet off of India and recapturing India on UK2. With 1 CC, 1 CV, 1 SS, 2 FTR (possibly up to 4), and (likely) 1 BOM against the Japanese 1 CV, 1 BB, and 2 (or less) FTR UK has a 63% chance of success and likely keeping 2 units. If UK has more FTR’s and/or Japan has less, my odds are that much better. As for the land battle. If UK needs to recapture India, they can bring in 2 INF from Australia and the ARM from Persia. If Japan has 2 INF left on India, UK has an 81% chance to recapture using those 3 units alone. Thereafter, Japan would be in no position to make another attempt on India for some time. IF Russia succeeded in the liberation, things are even better for UK. The ARM on Persia can head eastward and hit FIC along with the 2 INF being transported up from Australia. This would depend on what air units Japan landed there at the end of J1 (and/or any transported units from Japan) as well as any other naval units Japan might have in range that might threaten the TT if left floating alone for a round. Thereafter, I would pump out 3 units every turn in India and the rest at UK, building a couple naval units and then ground units to drop down to SZ12 and thereafter my transports would return to UK for more land units and drop them back off in Algeria on the same turn. If Japan appeared to be threatening a strike upon India again, UK could temporarily suspend Atlantic builds and build more costly units to shore up the Indian defense. However, it will not take long before the US/UK units from Algeria will make their way over to Caucasus or India
USA: My purchases and overall direction would depend greatly upon what Japan brought in to Pearl Harbor on J1. If Japan kept back the SZ 50 CV to aid in the takedown of the UK fleet, the attack on Pearl Harbor would be weak. If the Japanese attack both the UK fleet and India, they would need the BOM to attack India AND the SZ 50 CV pulled back to provide a landing space for the 3rd FTR engaging the UK fleet. Therefore the J1 Pearl Harbor attack would be extremely weak, though it should still certainly succeed. US would easily counter on US1. With one half of the Japanese fleet sunk at Pearl Harbor during US1 and the other half about to be sunk (or already sunk) in the Indian Ocean, Japan would be in a world of hurt and I would go KJF and have several options in how to pursue that course. Assuming the Japanese player goes for a strong Pearl Harbor on J1, Japan would be forgoing the assault on the UK Indian Fleet or India - both are good scenarios for UK. However, if the Japanese pursue the strong Pearl Harbor assault, that portion of the Japanese navy poses no threat to India until J4 at the earliest. Therefore, as the US, I am drawn between the Pacific and the Atlantic options. If Japan didn’t bring in everything possible and/or they had less than stellar results, I may go full-bore KJF. If the Japanese brought in maximum possible force into Pearl Harbor, I would probably turn tail with my TT and BB and head for the Atlantic. If the UK SZ 2 fleet was destroyed, I would drop the US SZ 10 CC down to SZ 12 to block in the German Med fleet and hold back my transports in SZ 10. The DD would pull up to SZ10, merging with my 2 TT and my builds. If the UK SZ 2 fleet survived and made the move down to SZ 12, I would bring over the CC and 2 TT along with 4 ground units from EUS. I would buy 1 CV, 2 TT, 3 INF, 1 ARM. Thereafter, I would primarily focus on doing the quick ferry ride from Algeria back to Eastern Canada, picking up as many land units as I can carry, and returning back to Algeria each turn. UK could do the same by returning to SZ7 to pick up fresh troops and heading back to Algeria all in the same turn. This would protect the joint US/UK fleet from splitting up and being vulnerable to attack by German and/or Japanese air power in Europe. This would keep the African IPC’s pouring into the Allied coffers, as well as maintain significant threat to Western Europe and Southern Europe (once the German Med fleet is eliminated). Germany would need to hold back more units from the front line, further easing the burden on Russia. US and UK can keep this up and march their tanks and men across northern Africa into the middle east and up to Caucasus or Asia. With the German naval build on G1, that is one more turn for US and UK to get boots on the ground and over to the front. At the drop of a hat, the UK, followed by the US, could switch up the plan and invade Western or Southern Europe when they are ready.
Edit: I guess I didn’t address part of the Japanese strategy that you mentioned. If Japan totally ignores both navies and simply builds the two IC’s and makes the tank rush for Moscow, UK would certainly deter the progress with the IC on India. As the USA, I would probably shore up the defense of Buryatia’s 6 Russian INF with a couple US FTR’s (China & Hawaii) and build bombers ASAP to land in Buryatia and strategic bomb the Japanese IC’s. Granted, the most I could do would be 12 IPC’s of damage between the 2 mainland IC’s. However, that coupled with the UK builds in India should quickly slow the Japanese tank rush to a crawl at best. I will need to crunch the numbers later for specific battle stats to run out the likely progress.
Anyhow, it’s getting late and I think I have written enough for you to get the gist of most of my plan to counter that scenario. If I miswrote something, I’ll correct my post later. In my play group, we play straight OOB rules without a bid. If I had a UK+6, this is what I think I would pursue. Please tell me what you guys think of this allied strategy.